The Northern Ireland Under-17 team at the Lisburn Leisureplex.
AN impressive showing of local netball talent was on display at the European netball championships in Lisburn last weekend. Twin sisters Sara and Emma Campbell, Genna Bowman, younger sister of internationals Lisa and Kyla all Larkfield players and Megan Millar from Kingsway gained their uI7 caps and European bronze medals.
Four Friends school pupils Jenna Bingham, Courtney Johnston, Keely Mason and Megan McCrea were represented on the newly formed Northern Ireland under 15 development side along with Wallace High pupil Claudia Philpott playing goalkeeper. Eleven new Under 17 caps were awarded at the Europeans with Ashleigh Dinsmore on the team last year and silver and bronze medals for the two home teams competing.The under 15 development side in their international debut won silver and the Under 17s retained the bronze.
The Northern Ireland Under-15 team at the Lisburn Leisureplex.
The Sport NI sponsored Division 1 and 2 Championships encouraged by great local support was a huge success but the Under 19 team missed European bronze by 4 goals in travelling to Loughborough for the uI9 championships.
The Under 17 team, coached by Teresa Gillespie this season, opened with a 38-19 win over Scotland and the Northern Ireland Under 15 squad with Kate Harrup in charge made their international debut against the older and more experienced Gibraltar Under 17 team narrowly losing 39-25.
A stronger Welsh side were the victors over the Under 17s on Saturday the margin 5817 but the Under 15s gaining in confidence totally overwhelmed the Republic of Irelands Under 17s 59-7.
0n Sunday England retained their gold position with a polished 63-20 victory over our Under 17s but another win for the Under 15s with a superb 50-9 tally over newcomers Switzerland to take the Division 2 silver medal.. In the play offs Scotland defeated Gibraltar to remain in Division 1 with Northern Ireland, silver medallists Wales and champions England.
The Northern Ireland Under 17 development team play the Republic at Ireland at Cookstown Leisure centre on March 27.
The Under 19s coached by Lisburn based Laura Montgomery had travelled full of confidence and hope of improving on the current silver position won by Jackie Portis two years ago but were bitterly disappointed in facing the European Champions England in their opening match in Loughborough on Friday. Co captained by Wallace High girls Sarah Montgomery and Sophie McClean, the team produced a lacklustre performance losing score 81-12. A brief glimmer of hope for better things to come on Saturday morning with a 45-28 win over Malta disappeared facing Wales later in the day going down 69-29.. With the bronze still to play for against Scotland the games slipped away by 4 goals and at the final whistle 47-43 gave bronze to the Scots.
A weeks rest and the players all gear up again for the All Ireland Schools finals in Dublin on Thursday, March 25 with Cookstown High School contesting the Senior section for the first time,Our Lady and St Patrick's hoping to retain the Junior and Intermediate trophies and Lumen Christie making their All Ireland Minor debut.